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Province Launches Campaign Challenging HIV-related Stigma

News Release – October 15, 2012

As part of Saskatchewan’s overall HIV strategy, the province is launching an awareness campaign aimed at challenging HIV-related stigma with the goal of empowering people living with HIV to get tested and access treatment and support.

“We recognize HIV is a serious issue for our province and we’re committed to finding solutions to address it,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “We hope this campaign will help create an environment free of stigma and discrimination in which those living with HIV will feel comfortable accessing testing and care.”

The campaign includes Youtube videos featuring five champions who have a close connection to HIV, as well as transit shelter ads, Facebook and online ads and a radio ad. The subjects offer their perspective on HIV-related stigma and encourage people to challenge common misconceptions about people living with HIV. The videos can be seen at http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/hiv.

First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada (FNIHB), Saskatchewan Region partnered with the Province to provide funding for the campaign. Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch’s HIV/AIDS program focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention, education, awareness and community capacity building, as well as facilitating access to quality diagnosis, care, treatment and social support for on-reserve First Nation communities.

The provincial HIV campaign is an integral part of the Saskatchewan HIV Strategy 2010-2014. The main goals of the HIV strategy are to reduce the number of new HIV infections, improve the quality of life for HIV-infected individuals and reduce the risk factors for acquiring HIV.

Health care professionals play an important role in facilitating an open, supportive environment for HIV-infected individuals.

“Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity while receiving health care,” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region HIV Strategy Co-ordinator and one of the champions in the Youtube ads Susanne Nasewich said. “As health care providers, our focus needs to be on how we can work with our clients to help them achieve optimal health and quality of life, as identified by the individuals themselves.”

In 2011, an HIV Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) was created to implement the HIV strategy and has been actively engaged in working with the health regions and various partners to develop programs and policies aimed at engaging people living with or at risk of acquiring HIV to access services. The HIV PLT has also assisted with initiatives in the areas of community engagement, education, prevention and harm reduction.

For more information on HIV/AIDS visit the Ministry of Health website at http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/hiv and Health Canada website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/branch-dirgen/fnihb-dgspni/phcphd-dsspsp/aids-sida-eng.php.

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For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: [email protected]

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